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  1. #1
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    Wrapping cloth bar tape - preferences and finishing

    I'm planning on putting cloth bar tape on my Motobecane Grand Record and it's been hard to find good write-ups of beginning-to-end methods of wrapping bars for more than a couple instances. Which wrapping direction works best for cloth tape? How do yo finish the ends? Ever tried the Velo Orange 2-direction method? How necessary is shellac and does it make the cloth stiff?

  2. #2
    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    With shellac'd cloth you don't have to worry about the edges coming up, so wrap from top down. And it's so thin that finishing by stuffing into the bar end is nice and clean.

    Shellac keeps your cotton nice and clean(able) so I would consider it a must.

    And on my next cloth job I'm going to try out the inner tube over the bar first method for a little cushioning. At 50+, my hands can tell the difference between modern cushioned wrap and cloth.
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  3. #3
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    You'll find that not all "experts" agree on this one. And even non-expers, such as myself, can be very opinionated.

    In my opinion, handlebar tape is utilitarian, and essentially ephemeral. It looks best when it's plain and simple; fancy and fussy doesn't improve the aesthetic. Done right, it lasts a long time, but don't expect it to last for ever. When it starts falling apart, it's time to replace it.

    I start at the center. I use one roll of tape for each side, so two rolls for a complete handlebar. I roll the brake hood up a bit if possible so I can tape under it. I try to end with just barely enough tape to tuck inside the hollow handlebar end, then plug it.

    I do not believe in shellac; I consider it unnecessary and a bit nasty.

  4. #4
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    With cloth tape, I am not too fussy about starting at the stem end or the end of hb, but usually start at the top, but one thing I always do is roll the hood up and put two short strips over the brake lever clamp before I start taping to make sure it is covered when the job is done.

    I ride mostly on the brake hoods so I don't get the edges of the tape fraying on a "start at the top" job that happens on the hb bend sometimes.

  5. #5
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    I started at the bottom with both of my sets of cloth bars, and I twined the end with dark Wal-Mart twine. Looks good, both on the silver (which turned out tan-ish), and on the red (which went oxblood). With the red, I shellacked heavy and fast - it took forever to dry, and ultimately looked like crap. The silver is gorgeous, but I put two coats on the first two nights (about 6 hours apart) and then would put on a coat a night for a week until the fabric was filled in. It feels like silk and is wearing really nicely.
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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Shellac protects cloth wrap from everything except alcohol (the solvent in shellac)... dirt and oil will wipe right off with a little simple green and scuffs are easily touched up with a little more shellac or a light touch with an alcohol wipe.

    This lasts far longer than plain cloth or cork.

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    I prefer to start at the top and tuck the ends into the handlebar, it gives a nice clean look.
    I do like shellac as it protects the tape, I've seen 15 year old tape that looked as good as the
    day it was shellaced, just took a damp cloth to wipe it down to clean it up.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member jebensch's Avatar
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    If you start at the top, do you use tape or is the wrapping what holds in place? I wouldn't think tape would stick to cotton.

    Apropos: has anyone finished a wrap with twine? I've seen that before and it looks really cool. I might try it with my current project.
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  9. #9
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    I start at the bottom, although I don't 'tuck' in the cloth into the bar end like you would with cork grip. Instead I use a screw in plug like old school Velox rubber plugs,



    or just some plain ole corks from wine bottles.



    At the top I finish it off with twine. Lay a small piece of twine horizontally, parallel with the bars, and just make a loop (just double it up, no knot). Wrap the twine over this loop, letting the loop stick out on one end. When you feel like you've gone around enough times and it's wide enough to your liking, thread the end of the twine into the loop, and pull the non-looped end through. That effectively knots it, so to speak.

    Then shellac the whole thing. It'll probably need about 5 or 6 coats before it starts looking decent. The more you put, the more glossy it'll look. I use premixed shellac, which comes in 'amber' and 'clear' - both can be useful depending on the effect you're going for.




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    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jebensch View Post
    If you start at the top, do you use tape or is the wrapping what holds in place? I wouldn't think tape would stick to cotton.

    Apropos: has anyone finished a wrap with twine? I've seen that before and it looks really cool. I might try it with my current project.
    That's the ticket. No seriously, it does.
    72 special CNC ___________ 72 Frejus (ala Legnano) __73 Holdsworth Record
    78 Raleigh Professional_____ 80 Ranson_____________ 80 unknown French (SS)
    82 Peugeot PXN10_________83 Trek 620 (nee 600)____ 85 Gianni Motta
    85 Trek 560______________88 Guerciotti GLX
    90 Miele Gara_____________02 Casati Dardo (g/blue)__02 Casati Dardo (y/blk)
    03 Casati Dardo___________08 BF IRO (fixed)________10 Vassago Fisticuff (IGH)

  11. #11
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I finish all my shellac'd wraps with twine... it gives it such a nice finished look.




  12. #12
    can't member Noah Scape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    I finish all my shellac'd wraps with twine... it gives it such a nice finished look.
    65'r, what color was the tape before shellac'n?

  13. #13
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stausty View Post
    How necessary is shellac and does it make the cloth stiff?
    Yes, the shellac does make the cloth feel harder. It does not really matter to me since my gloves remove most of that feel. The biggest difference to me was how thin that bars feel wrapped with cloth compared to cork, it took a little getting used to. I like shellac for the reasons mentioned, it keeps the tape looking fresh with an occasional wipe. I have touched up the shellac on my bars once this year and they look about the same as the day I wrapped them. I have naked cloth on my newest build mostly out of lazyness, and I cannot tell much of a difference.

    Oh yeah... top down! I liked the half harlequin wraps that Robatsu used to post, with subdued colors it can look pretty good.

    I used the Ray dobbins method and removed the brake levers and wrapped the cloth around the posts only. It's pretty simple, just wet down the tape and stretch the crap out of it!

    You can see I start by making a complete loop along the edge of the handle bar sleeve. Then I wrap clockwise towards the front tire.
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  14. #14
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Scape View Post
    65'r, what color was the tape before shellac'n?
    Yellow cloth (hockey tape actually) and amber shellac.

    Takes about 6 coats to get that shade of brown... I think the pic of the Peugeot was after 4 coats and she has had additional coats since.

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    Look who's bumping this thread! I am!

    Is there a guide somewhere on how to wrap and shellac cotton tape? If I wrap my bars with old tubes to add some cushion, will I need additional rolls of tape?

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